The End of a Phase

October 20, 2018:

Agent Rin Nakano has been trapped in a non-corporeal state for too long. Phil Coulson calls Kitty Pryde in to help.

Somewhere in Minnesota

Abandoned labs and warehouses for everyone.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Emma Frost, Tony Stark, Rocket, Groot, Jane Foster

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

When he had just woken up Phil had put in a call, or two, or three, to see if he couldn't find some help for Rin. But with demons falling out of the sky and SHIELD keeping him on tight watch until such time that Emma Frost could fix his little issue with being insane, the wheels of providing that help have rolled slowly.

Still, the wheels do roll, and this has led to Phil Coulson calling Nakano Rin and Kitty Pryde up to a decommissioned SHIELD base somewhere in, of all places, rural Minnesota. Outside the first flurries of the year are swirling about, and a light layer of ice has settled over the nearby lake.

Decommissioned, because Phil technically isn't on duty yet, but this place still responds to his protocols. He did call in the favors to get them both air transport. And ground transport. And the man who waits there now doesn't look much like the Suit he's been called so many times in his life. He's still wearing the jeans, flannel plaid shirt, and undershirt he was wearing during his forced vacation at his family's cabin. He's since been taken off full-time supervision, but isn't allowed to return to work yet. He's also added a light windbreaker against the deepening cold. He waits for them outside, hands in the pockets of said windbreaker, rocking back and forth on his heels.

Whenever they're all assembled he swipes his card and comments, "This might be overkill. I'm kind of hoping the problem can be solved quickly. But just in case something goes wrong, we might want all these reinforced walls around us. Given the state of New York," something they tried, and failed, to keep him from finding out about, "I am sort of feeling in a 'better safe than sorry' sort of a mood."

Seven months is a long time to be split between two dimensions, but Rin found ways to keep herself functioning. Between the sutis Phil found her when he was dead, and what Stark threw together, she was still able to keep on mostly active duty. Her focus at the time was to help get Phil back to being Phil, and now that's done she sifted the focus to herself. It did not take long for her to realize she has no idea where to start.

Exhaustion started setting in, Rin found herself easily tired, and lately she's been losing time. It usually happens somewhere in the middle of a nextflix binge, but when it started happening at work she began to worry. Not that she told Phil, he has enough on his plate.

Thankfully he found a solution, even if they have to go to the ass crack of Minnesota. "Why am I not surprised they have a facility all of the way out here? Of course the land is probably cheap, who would want to live in this place?" She's wearing her all black suit, the one that lets her interact with the world. However she's using it a safety net. She can't completely disappear if she's part of physical world. Right? "I'm fine with better safe than sorry."

The SHIELD and X-Men have had a somewhat successful and mostly politic-free partnership in the past year or so. They've had their ups and downs, but for the most part they have each helped each other when the other needed it most.

Today it is the X-Men's turn to lend a member to SHIELD for help.

Said member enters the Minnesota base a little bit of a strange and easily readable ball of pent up energy. The small purple dragon on her shoulder does not exactly help matters, either. The woman is dressed in her X-Men attire - yellow and black suit, longer brunette hair pulled into a tight ponytail. She glances this way and that.

While she's not about to bring the Blackbird to this remote SHIELD facility, there are other ways the X-Men get around and she arrives slightly behind Rin from who knows where. The purple dragon curls around her neck like a scarf and she doesn't seem to be unduly effected by the cold. Either it's a second mutation, or she's just used to it.

A hand quickly moves up to her throat as she makes her way toward Phil Coulson and Rin Nakano. For a moment, she fiddles with a pendant around her neck, checking it as if it is a watch and then she makes her way forward with a smile and an awkward joke. "Hi, uh, did someone order a phasing mutant?"

"Someone did," Phil says, and in this moment some of the humor returns to eyes that have been showing but little of it of late. His cheshire cat smile flits over his face, amused and avuncular. "Nakano Rin, this is Kitty Pryde of the X-Men. Miss Pryde, this is Agent Nakano. 9 months ago Agent Nakano was struck by unknown alien technology that placed her in what I theorize is a phased or half-phased state. The suit she's in has helped her interact with the world in spite of it, but I'm sure she'd like to get back to having a body."

A twitch of his lips. "Being a ghost sucks."

He spreads his hands. "At any rate, I thought SHIELD might be overcomplicating the search for a solution. That you might just be able to…nip to her wavelength in space-time and then draw her back to ours."

"Don't mind the gimp suit, they didn't really have fashion in mind when they created this thing. Who ever created it." Rin hasn't asked, because she really doesn't want to know. It's alien, that's enough information for her. She looks at the dragon with a tilt of her head, as facial expression don't translate through the suit. "My teenage self is jealous of your pet." Who wouldn't want a pet dragon? "Yes, a body would be great, before there isn't one left to have. Not that I can tell what's going on with it, but we're going to find out. Maybe." There is still a fair amount of doubt in her voice.

"And he's right, being a ghosts is fucking terrible. They probably are over complicating it, bringing in specialists who get off on spouting assinine theroies just to make themselves feel important. Not that I'm of any help but, Phil trusts you so lets get sciencey."

"Nice to meet you," Kitty tells Rin with a nod and a smile. "This is Lockheed. He's, well, an alien dragon. He's more of a friend than a pet." Lockheed puffs himself up at that, giving Rin a bit of a side eye at the thought of being downgraded to pet rather than full autonomous.

"I haven't really had to deal with being a ghost for more than when I wanted to," she admits. "And I mostly deal in phased and not phased, rather than anything in between. I'm more binary than anything else. It's all ones and zeros." Stepping forward, she inspects Rin's suit a bit, unable to help herself.

"I can certainly try what I can, but what I do is pretty much instinctual. I know there's a science to it, but I only really think of it as experimental on just how far I can take it rather than anything else."

Glancing about, she adds, "Is there some place in particular you'd like us to test? I don't think I'm going to make anything explode, but it's probably better to do this is in a safe environment without a lot of variables."

"There's a lab downstairs. Come on. It's possible, Rin, you might have to de-suit when you get there."

He walks them to an elevator and swipes his card again. "We were fortunate that the generator was still running," he comments.

The elevator opens up into a room that even looks like it was once a state-of-the-art lab, complete with blast shielding. There's not much left here but a couple of tables, but since he took them three floors down to some sublevels, rather than up, it's at least a sure bet that this is a safe place to get started.

"Ah, still a dragon friend would have made high school more interesting." Rin says thoughtfully as her expressionless face turns back to Phil. "I probably will, I don't think much can be done if I am in it. I'll miss gimpy, he grew on me." She says faltly as she follows Phil to the elevator. Nodding to Kitty she shrugs. "Considering everything else I've tried has been fruitless, I am ready for some instinct."

Once they get to the lab she looks around, taking in the abandoned items and frowning. "Yes, we are very lucky that SHIELD doesn't care about it's electric and gas bill." She pauses for a moment before she slips out of the suit. She's dressed in her tactical gear that she was wearing all those months ago. Her shirt sleeve is torn and the implant on that arm is exposed, and blackened from the battle she was in the middle of. "This is what I'm worried about, how much this is going to hurt."

"I guess that's what comes from being a government underbelly, free gas and electric perks." Kitty's tone is a bit scathing there, as it is clear she doesn't truly trust the government…after all, she has good reason not to do so. However, she is here and she is respecting the bonds SHIELD and Xavier's have built.

As they enter the lab, Kitty takes a look about, unable to help herself. Much like a cat, she is endlessly curious. "Man, do you guys just have an endless supply of random abandoned places all over the US?" It's a bit of a probing question, but one she is actually curious about.

Once in the lab and Rin sheds the her outer gear that has kept her in this plane and from ghosting into another, she frowns and studies Rin. It's not like she can tell things just from looking at her. "Once we've got you all put together again, if you're respectful, you can toss him around. He likes being thrown up into the air and setting things on fire. Ever since he watched Game of Thrones he's gotten some ideas into his head."

Without phasing, she circles Rin and then tells her almost like she's a doctor making assessments, "Okay, I'm going to try a few things. I don't think this will hurt, but if it does, tell me. Or if it feels weird, or just whatever you're feeling. It'll help calibrate." Giving Rin a moment to adjust, she reaches her hand out, palm held up and outward, as if she's about to send out a force blast from it. "Okay, try and grab my hand."

Phil gives his cheshire cat smile, and, hearing the scathing undertones in Kitty's own, quips: "We've got to have a few places to turn into black sites at the drop of a hat, Miss Pryde."

Actually that might be kind of serious.

It's tough to tell.

As the actual work gets underway he settles back against the wall, crossing his arms and observing. He gives the air of someone standing guard. This? Has got to be habit. He can't truly expect someone to come storming the abandoned lab while this phasing problem gets solved.

"If I'm still upright and functioning I will give him a toss." That is one thing making Rin hesitant about this whole thing. Staying a ghost means not having to deal with a body that hasn't had it's needs met in seven months. She's worried that she's going to be like a Sim, with a giant red diamond over her head. Too tired to eat, to hungry to sleep and too smelly to shower.

"I hate black site drills, they're usually cold, have very little running and all you hear is people bitching about how the wifi isn't instantly available. As if I can magically step up servers and patch them at the wave of a hand." She rolls her eyes, finding at least one thing that has been a blessin gin all of this.

That and overly affectionate Pam phasing through her when she went in for a hug. That was priceless.

When Kitty holds up her Hand, Rin matches hers and listens. "Alright." She says dryly. When this all started, she was surprised when her hand phased through something, not it's second nature. She tires to grab Kitty's hand, but it phases right through her.

Kitty doesn't quite know the side effects of what may effect Rin after they manage to phase her into the proper solid plane. She's sure she can manage this one way or another. This is something of her speciality.

Rin's hand passes through her hand, but involuntarily, she shivers a bit at the feeling. It's not a normal pass through. She knows what it's like to pass through someone when phased. There's something more charged here.

"That is just as not assuring as you were hoping it would be, Agent Coulson," she tells the man even if she does not take her eyes off of Rin. Unable to help herself, she smirks. "Okay, Lockheed, go keep the Agent company. I think the next few tests I've got to do solo." Reluctantly, the purple dragon glides over and attempts to land on Coulson's head.

Then, she phases. It's not a shimmer, it's not anything easily recognizable. However, she reaches forward again in an attempt to grab onto Rin. This time, it's more like molasses, however, still she phases through the Agent in front of her. There's a feedback both of them can feel. It's like holding hands while also touching a very powerful plasma globe…there's electricity there.

Coulson quite gamely allows Lockheed to land on his head. "Hello, Lockheed," he says, with all due solemnity. "I hope you find your perch to your liking."

He does not try to pet the dragon. Much as he wants to.

He does smirk a little when Kitty says his words were not reassuring, a spark of humor once again entering those slightly-haunted eyes of his. But those eyes are focused as he watches Rin and Kitty and their tests. Most of what is happening, of course, is beyond his ability to perceive, but if something looks like it's going horribly wrong there's a sure bet he'll try to do a whole lot of something. Whether anything he might try is effective is anyone's guess though, so he'd just as soon avoid anything exciting this evening.

"He's great at making things sound reassuring while your stomach fills with dread. You get used to it." Rin says dryly as her hand passes through Kitty's. She doesn't even feel it on her end there is just the expectation that it will pass through, the furstration that it didn't work wore off months ago. She watches as the alien dragon moves to Phil's head, feeling only a little jealous.

When Kitty changes tactics, Rin waits until she shimers before she tries again. It's different, sort of how it feels when she gets into the suit, sticky and resistant. The electricity shocks her, it's one of the first feelings she's felt in ages and she almost pulls away. "Holy shit." This is getting some where, but again she levels her expectations. They're still experimenting and she doesn't want to get her hopes up.

"This feels like we're on the right track." For now she's ignoring Phil and focuses on Kitty's movements and her directions. "Okay, what's next?"

Lockheed is pleased to have found a perch. He tends to do this to new people. Now that he's allowed there, he beams and starts to preen through Coulson's hair and then his casual outfit. Maybe he's looking for treats, or maybe he's just searching for whatever he can find.

"I have enough things and thoughts that fill my stomach with dread," Kitty tells Rin with a grin. The electricity is felt, but she does not immediately pull back from it, like one might from a static shock. Instead, she is in the same vein as the other woman. This is progress. This means a connection is made.

"Okay. So, you're not phased like I would phase. You're somewhere else. You're not here, you're not where ever it is I phase to. And this isn't magic or that would have worked way worse than it did." This is her working through a problem. While she does not consider her phasing scientific, she has quite the mind for working through equations such as these when dealing with her powers and things that may deal with them.

Thinking things through, her eyes narrow and she focuses on Rin. "This may sound weird. But, I have an idea." Kitty steps back from Rin and steps back into a solid phase. "Rin, I need you to stand very still and hold your arms open. I'm going to try and run through you and grab you at the moment I am phasing." She takes a breath. "This is dangerous, okay? I'm not sure what it will do. I haven't seen anyone in your condition before. This may not work or it may do something worse. Are you okay with that?"

Lockheed will find three things. First, Coulson doesn't have much hair to paw through. Second, he does carry peppermints in his front pocket. He unwraps one and offers it up to the dragon curiously, to see if hard peppermint candy is going to be to a dragon's liking. He supposes if Lockheed throws up on Kitty's couch later he'll owe her an apology, but for now he's enchanted and trying to make friends.

Third, Coulson is armed with a strange alien gun, very small, terribly concealable. It's under his plaid shirt, in a holster, hidden by both the bulky plaid and the windbreaker. It's the only weapon he currently has. It is not SHIELD issue by a longshot, though Lockheed might not know that.

He seems unphased (no pun intended)…(okay, maybe a little) at hearing the two women are going to try something dangerous. That's life with alien technology and mutant powers.

"That's about as much as Stark was able to figure out. I've tried focusing on my body to see just where the fuck it is, but I get nothing. I'm sure that would be useful information right now." Rin is used to having an internet's worth of information on hand, but no amount of Googling is going to solve this problem. At least not with out diving into the weird part of the internet, and even she avoids that place.

At the suggestion, Rin frowns. "Look, we just met and I don't hug on the first date." She's using her dry wit to deflect the nervous energy that she's feeling.

Still she takes a step back and opens her arms. "Well, here goes nothing. What's the worst that can happen besides death?"

Lockheed takes the peppermint and unwraps it in his claws. Quickly, he tucks it into his jaw, but he does not swallow. Instead, he sucks at it, as if used to the idea of peppermint. However, as this seems to be a thing that Coulson will allow Lockheed, he is quick to be like a snake to find and ruffle.

When he finds the holster and the small gun, he is quick to grab at it. He's not going to fire, but he wants to investigate. He wants to turn it about in his hands.

"I think that's the problem, Rin," Kitty tells the woman as she studies her. "Your body didn't go anywhere. You're right there, that's why you couldn't find it. You're just…you're between a lot of different planes right now. You're right where you are, but you're also kind of…" she circles her hand for effect, "…everywhere. That's why you're spread so thin. You're existing on multiple different planes at once. I could feel you here. I could feel you when I phased. That must mean there's something of you in both places. That….doesn't generally happen. There is a multitude of planes, of universes. I think right now? You're in all of them."

Kitty takes a breath. "When I phase, I phase between two different places. However, the moment when I phase? It's probability, it's quantum physics. I'm everywhere and nowhere. I'm gonna have to run through you and grab you at the exact moment when I phase to make this work. Otherwise I may just phase through you and weaken you, or I'll only grab a piece of you and you're not going to come back fully. However….that's the only think I can think can work and I really think it could. I'm going to time it. I'll count it down, okay? Just…close your eyes. Take a deep breath." That's the general advice she always gives to people before she phases them through something difficult, something that could be dangerous. But, she looks to Rin and the young mutant gives her a reassuring smile. "Look, Agent Rin Nakano, I've got you, okay? Trust me. That's important. You've got to trust me. When you feel something solid hit you, you've got to grab on. That's why I want you to close your eyes. You've got to feel it."

"Ready Rin? Take a breath."

"One."

"Two."

"THREE!"

And then Kitty sprints forward. She takes a breath herself and then she tosses herself toward Rin. It is only when she can almost feel Rin's hand that she starts to phase. She can feel something, an outline, something drawn on multiple planes of glass. And she grabs at it. It happens in in an instant. Things start to feel solid, but it's harder than an actual phase, it takes longer, it's like trying to guide herself through a vacuum of space. She holds onto what she can feel of Rin as she continues to run forward.

Coulson will not let the little dragon play with the gun. He gently tries to push him away from it. But his eyes are narrowed as he considers what he's hearing. He's more than familiar with the concept of other universes and realities. SHIELD has studied it for some time. Was the technology that struck at Rin something meant to do what it did, to weaponize that concept? Or was it an unpredictable result of something meant to allow passage to and from those realities?

A question Jane Foster could probably answer better than he, if he wished to dig the things out of Warehouse 13 and share them with her. Something to consider for later.

He finds he's leaning forward, balanced on his toes, as Kitty executes her maneuver. He wants to see as much as he can of it, and of course…there's always the chance it won't work, something that has him concerned.

Rin listens to Kitty's explaination and rolls it over in her mind. "That both makes complete sense and no sense at the same time. It would explain why I feel so exhausted, why my powers are weaker, they're trying to work on all planes of existance?" Rin shakes her head as she tries to wrap herself around it. "I thought that it was because whaver I was hit with struck my implant that I use to stealth. However there is no way what I created would have that potential." Rin is a smart woman, but she's never delved into planer studies, perhaps maybe she should.

It's a big ask for Rin to trust a woman she's just met, but it's been the best shot that they've tried so far. So with a frown and a nod she agrees. "Breath and latch on. Got it." She's of course worried about the whole thing, it could go terribly wrong. Still she holds out her arms takes a deep breath, and closes her eyes. The count down feels like it takes forever, but she focuses on Kitty's voice and waits for that touch. It's not as obvious as she thought it would be, but it happens. She feels something, so she does what is asked. Her arms wrap around what she thiks is Kitty as she grits her teeth. Now isn't the time for banter, but a thousand quips run through her head. She'll save them for later, right now Rin is focusing on being real again and for the first time, she actually feels another person.

Lockheed still tries to pry. He can't help himself and Coulson seems to be otherwise occupied.

Kitty phases through Rin. It's a strange sensation for the both of them. At first it is like Kitty is grabbing at pillow, then, as Rin focuses on her and she keeps stepping forward, it starts to form more solid and solid in her arms. Eventually, in what seems like slow motion but also full minutes for her, despite it being seconds, she grabs onto Rin.

In moments, she holds onto the woman. However, they are still phased. They move through the table behind them. Kitty is firm in her grip, taking a few deep breaths and looking a little ashen. Phasing is not generally a problem for her, but this was a trial.

"One second," she tells Rin, firmly. "Hold on. Step back with me." A comforting thing to RIn is that she can actually feel Kitty's arms around her. And then they step backward. "Okay, another deep breath. I'm going to let go. I think you'll be in the solid form then."

"If I give you another peppermint will you leave my gun alone?" Coulson asks of the dragon, absently offering another one up. He is, however, occupied, and the dragon soon gets it. The thing is tiny. It's also alien. It's certainly not SHIELD issue.

He gets it, of course, because Phil Coulson is watching all this with a brow furrowed in deep concern. The way that Kitty looks is less than encouraging, but he makes no move to intervene. Not yet. For one thing he's not even sure how he would; for another, Kitty still sounds like she has it under control.

It does feel like it takes forever. Rin had no idea what was in store, but this is the strangest thing she's ever felt. Once it's done Rin's opens her eyes and looks around. This seems appears to be the right plane. She's not one to cling, but Rin isn't sure what happens if she lets go just yet, so she doesn't. She looks down at the table and her heart skips a bit until she realizes that Kitty is the one doing the phasing.

As they step back, she takes in a deep breath as instructed, and once Kitty brings them out of the phase she steps away. She takes several unsure breaths, reaching forward with a shaking hand to touch the table they were just in the middle of and finds it sold. "Holy shit." That seems to be her phrase today. She lets herself fall to her knees and just feel the floor. "I'm a real boy."

It's then that a coughing fit starts and she starts to feel the aches and pains of having a fully phased body again, and the needs that it requires. "We should have grabbed tacos."

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